Green and Pleasant Land is a visual poem about modern English identity.
The project began in May 2016 when I made a homecoming visit to the U.K and started to photograph an informed outsider’s perspective on class, commerce and culture in modern England. I was a resident in the United Kingdom for eight years before I was involuntarily required to emigrate back to the United States because of complications with my visa two years prior. A month after my visit, Britain voted to leave the European Union and the project took on another level of personal meaning and importance. The “Brexit” vote, fueled by anti-immigrant sentiments, added to the unnerving sense of exclusion I felt from the United Kingdom.
The project is inspired by the poem Jerusalem by the English poet William Blake. Many of the photographs were directly inspired by the poem’s lines and phrases and they are also used to bookend and guide the narrative. Jerusalem is often read as a collocation for a identifiably English landscape and society and commonly viewed with strong nationalistic undertones. However, to me, Jerusalem has a universal message about the personal struggle for identity and acceptance in society.
It’s Only a Selfie! is a study on the absurdities behind the selfie. Although Selfies are a form of art within their own right, the evolving human behavior behind crafting one’s own ideal self image to be shared on social media can often come across as farcical. Behind the carefully constructed selfie is a scene of pretense that can reveal much about human ego and temperament hidden on most social media feeds.
Tools for Fun is a series of photographs of the cheap, plastic and mass produced merchandise associated with the beach holiday taken with a camera which is also cheap, plastic and mass produced (The Holga).
Dream Holiday series uses the soft focus of the plastic lens to capture the more dull and mundane moments of a day at Waikiki beach